Ensuring Health Care Access for Youth in the Child Welfare System

Ensuring Health Care Access for Youth in the Child Welfare System

Mathematica and UConn’s Innovations Institute are partnering to advance policymakers’ understanding of how Medicaid and child welfare agencies ensure youth in the child welfare system receive access to health care
Apr 01, 2024
A woman holding a child while a doctor examines them.

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) has awarded a 10-month contract to Mathematica to develop a report that will help the commission better understand the roles and responsibilities of state Medicaid and child welfare agencies in meeting the health care needs of children and youth served by the child welfare system. Mathematica is partnering with the University of Connecticut (UConn) School of Social Work’s Innovations Institute to shed light on the child welfare landscape.

This report will inform MACPAC’s deliberations on policies and strategies for ensuring that Medicaid- and CHIP-eligible children in the child welfare system have timely access to quality care. Partnerships between state Medicaid agencies and state child welfare agencies are key to achieving access to health care for these children and youth. But coordination is challenging and financing is complex, largely due to systematic, historical, and structural issues.

Mathematica and Innovations Institute bring extensive expertise to the intersection of Medicaid and child welfare services at the federal, state, and local levels across the country. Through this project, Mathematica and Innovations Institute will identify current federal rules that require state Medicaid and child welfare agencies to ensure health care access for Medicaid-enrolled children and youth in foster care. They will select, profile, and interview Medicaid and child welfare agencies in seven states that are diverse in demographics, Medicaid systems and structures, child welfare systems and structures, and levels of innovation and system-reform initiatives. They will provide MACPAC with information on how states implement federal requirements around health care access and the issues they face in ensuring the delivery of all necessary health services. In addition, they will identify opportunities to close gaps in access and care through changes in federal policy.

A nonpartisan federal agency in the legislative branch, MACPAC delivers policy and data analysis and recommendations to Congress, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the states on issues affecting Medicaid and CHIP. The agency, made up of 17 commissioners from diverse regions across the U.S., is an independent source of information on Medicaid and CHIP. MACPAC publishes issue briefs and data reports throughout the year to support policy analysis and program accountability and to make recommendations to Congress on access to and quality of care, among other issues.


About Mathematica

Mathematica collaborates with and advises partners in the public, private, and philanthropic sectors. We use data science, social science, and technology to address pressing social challenges—from the effects of climate change on communities around the world to disparities in health care, education, and employment across the U.S. We are driven by our mission to improve the services and programs that people rely on, strengthen evidence-based policy, and advance equity in the areas of health, human services, and global development. As an employee-owned company, we not only share our clients’ commitment to impact, but we also share a stake in the outcome.

About Innovations Institute, UConn School of Social Work

Innovations Institute at the UConn School of Social Work advances research-based, inclusive, culturally responsive, and transformative solutions for child-, youth-, and family-serving public systems, and supports the workforce within these systems. Its work, in collaboration with partners and stakeholders at the federal, state, and local levels, touches nearly every state and territory in the country. The impact of this effort is improved quality and effectiveness of public-serving systems that are responsive to the unique needs of young people and their families from diverse communities, cultures, identities, and experiences.